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Growth and Reflection in Ecuador

MARCH 5, 2017 | SOUTH AMERICA - INTI

Here we are: the end of Week Two. When I look back on the trip thus far, I see limitless memories made through experiences we have lived, and when I look forward to our time ahead, I see unlimited potential for more life from which to learn. Each person in this group is an incredibly unique individual with different goals, passions, and stories to tell, but I can try to speak for us all when I say we are here for the experience. The unfamiliar, unknown, unpredictable experiences we encounter each week, each day, each moment.

Here we are: La Finca Mono Verde, Tabuga, Ecuador. A family-run, agroforestry permaculture farm serving as yet another rich catalyst for experience. Yet it is not necessarily where we are, or specifically what we are doing that brings about growth and learning. It is more about the how and the why. How we choose to work hard and still have fun when the work is constructing walls made of mud, or shoveling components of fresh fertilizer. Why we choose to ask the extra question, or (try to) use our Spanish so we can glimpse a little further into the lives of our temporary neighbors.

Here we go: leaving behind a place and its people, reflecting on how we have let this community affect us, and the marks we may have left behind. We get to see the natural landscape of the Ecuadorian coast- every tree and vine a beautiful masterpiece, every small leaf or mushroom a work of art. We have witnessed the labor and processes that go into crops such as coffee and cacao from the earth to our table. Friendships amongst us take on new dimensions through open conversations, nightly trips to bathe in the river, mealtime discussions, hammock hangout sessions, working together, and constantly marveling at what we get to do and see.

Here we go: on to Week Three. We are excited for homestays in Baños, and though we cannot know what will happen, we can continue to decide how and why we are here- this will determine the depth of our experiences.